We first heard about these rumored gesture controls back in April when we saw artist renderings of a new navigation bar as well as a leaked Android P screenshot that suggested gesture controls like we see on the iPhone X.
During Burke’s presentation of the controls, he pointed out how the gestures will make navigating in and out of apps easier and more fluid. The power of the gestures will be enhanced by artificial intelligence and machine learning to anticipate what you want at that particular moment.
First up is the fact there is now only a single home button, the “pill” button seen in the leaked screenshots discussed earlier. A quick swipe up will reveal what Burke called the “Overview,” which displays a Google search bar, your most recent apps, and five app icons Google Assistant thinks you might want to use right then.
If you swipe a bit longer at first, or swipe up a second time when you are in Overview, you see the familiar app drawer. A brief swipe down takes you back to Overview, or a long swipe takes you back to the home screen.
This new gesture navigation works in any app, so you can be checking your email and swipe up to access your recent apps, the app drawer, or a Google search bar, and then swipe back to where you left off.
You can also access recent apps through a different navigation gesture called Quick Scrub. You slide the “pill” icon to the right or left, and it automatically scrubs through your open apps.
Burke said, “I’ve been using this new navigation system for the past month, and I absolutely love it. It’s a much faster, more powerful way to multitask on the go.”
Burke also went over the new vertical volume control which we already knew about from the Android P developers preview.
Finally, autorotation is apparently gone or able to be disabled in Android P. When you turn the phone into landscape mode, the image will not automatically flip on you. Instead, an icon will appear on the nav bar that, when tapped, will flip the phone manually. No more rotation flips when you don’t want them!
More gestures might be introduced as Google I/O 2018 continues. Stay tuned.